It may be the ultimate father-son male bonding tool. Think of it as tossing around a glatt kosher football, but first having to make a brachah on the activity. Daf Yomi 4Kids allows children to share in their fathers’ participation in the immensely popular global learning protocol.
The brainchild of Rabbi Michael Fine, a mechanech in Ottowa, Daf Yomi 4 Kids is a full-color workbook issued once a month. Two pages are devoted to each daf. Typically, they will include some focus on a halacha, factoid, or anecdote from that page, presented in language entirely suited for kids. Additionally, several of the following will appear: simple review questions linked to the page; games related to the content; a new vocabulary word; some mussar point developed from the daf; an elaboration upon some concept touched upon by that day’s learning. It is wonderfully illustrated.
Is this yet another attempt to dumb down the learning of gemara? Will we next see “Bavli For Toddlers?” Hardly. Daf Yomi 4 Kids does not attempt to teach the daf. It does artfully seize upon the inclination of kids to emulate their dads, and to want to participate in something grown-up. Daf Yomi is so well embedded in Orthodox life, that tens of thousands of households understand it to be part of the family routine. Speakers at siyumim give well-deserved credit to all the family members who accommodate the need of the daf participant to absent himself from other family activities while he sequesters himself with a shiur, a chavrusah, or his solo study of the daf. Daf4Kids finds a way to involve younger boys (and in some families, to be sure, younger girls) themselves in the world of new ideas and concepts that rush by the adult daf-participant in the regular course of his learning. Without learning the daf, the child can taste some of the low-hanging fruit that accompany the richness and depth of any blatt gemara. It is a brilliant pedagogical realization, matched only by the painstaking excellence of Rabbi Fine’s execution of the concept.
Daf Yomi 4 Kids is available in both hard-copy and in downloadable pdf’s, with different pricing for the two options. Sample dapim and further information are available at the website.